I hear many educators talking about making sure their students are challenged. Challenged with rigor, challenged with thinking about hard academic content, challenged with taking the hardest classes they can handle.
Of course we can certainly challenge our kids in all sorts of ways.
Instead of simply challenging them, I want to see my kids inspired, creating a distant vision, and challenging themselves to get there. To want to learn what lessons we have to offer because they see the point. That they see how it fits into their mission.
And if it doesn’t, then I don’t want to weigh down their dreams.
And further, I see my job as to be one who figures out how to inspire them, guides them in creating their own unique distant visions, helps them to see that it is possible, should they have the tools to actually try.
A teacher who is inspiring, visioning, and challenging. That is a wholly different mission than simply making our lessons “rigorous and challenging,” isn’t it? It forces us to look beyond the mission of preparing students for the next level of learning, the next class in the state-directed path to college. It forces us to look beyond preparing them for college and career ready. Not ignore it, but to look at an even bigger picture. To help the toughest kids see who they can become before they even believe it’s possible.
Facing a rigorous challenge without having inspiration or vision seems to be a pretty darned hollow task. And I no longer want to be a hollow educator.
I want to be more so I can help my kids be more. Don’t you?